The House of Representatives has started investigating the alleged mismanagement of over N72.34 billion in the railway rehabilitation contract.
The investigation, which began on Thursday, followed a resolution of the House based on a motion moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta).
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On December 21, 2020, the lawmaker had asked the house to investigate N19.2 billion awarded to Mesrss ESER Contracting Industry Company to rehabilitate the 463km Port Harcourt–Makurdi section of the Eastern Railway line in March 2011.
The Ad-hoc Committee commenced the investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the said contract almost ten years after it was awarded.
The investigation was however expanded by the committee to cover the entire N72.34 billion 1443km Port Harcourt – Maiduguri section of the eastern railway line.
In his opening remarks during the sitting, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Abubakar Hassan Nalaraba, said the hearing was to ascertain the status of the contract to rehabilitate the 1443km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri section of the eastern railway line for a total of about N72. 34billion awarded in 2011.
“In the course of carrying out this assignment, the House considered another Motion in this respect, and equally resolved to expand the scope of the Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the status of the entire railway rehabilitation contact awarded to 3 companies namely – CGGC Global Projects Nigeria Limited, Lingo Nigeria Limited and Eser Contracting and Industry Company Incorporation.
“The reason for this Resolution is not far-fetched. Only recently, and more than 10 years after the award of the contract for the rehabilitation of the eastern railway line, Mr. President performed a ceremony to flag a re-award of the contract to reconstruct the same eastern railway line, this time for about $3.2bn (that is, approximately about N1.3tr).
“This, no doubt raises some concerns especially where there are allegations of abandonment of the project by 3 contractor even after payments have been made,” he said.